BY: Tracey Carpenter
Enjoying the heating your solar panels are providing, wish you could lower your bills with a solar hot water system? Well if you’ve any interest in renewable energy being part of the mix in the future now would be a good time to come to the defense of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET). The government is reviewing the target and it’s RET Reviewers have put on the table the possible abolition of the target with no compensation to existing power plants – putting a big question mark over renewable energy certificates which underpin the business case of all systems from big investors to the smallest home systems.
And here’s some more good reasons to defend the RET. The Clean Energy Council has conducted extensive economic modeling by industry experts ROAM Consulting, on its costs and benefits of the RET. The report shows that future power prices would be lower with the RET in place than they would be if it is removed.
The report found that each Australian household will pay over $50 more for electricity in 2020 if the Renewable Energy Target is dispensed with. The total cost would be half a billion dollars extra for electricity in 2020 and up to $1.4 billion extra each year beyond then if the policy is removed.
On the other-hand the RET will generate approximately 18,400 new jobs by 2020 if retained in its current form. This is made up of 9700 jobs in large-scale technologies such as wind power and bio-energy and 8700 in household systems such as solar power and solar hot water.
In addition to the $20 billion of investment already generated, the Renewable Energy Target will drive a further $14.5 billion of investment in large-scale renewable energy out to 2020, as well as many billions more in household renewable energy such as solar power. If the policy is removed, most of this simply won’t happen.
Removing the Renewable Energy Target means more of Australia’s electricity will come from coal and increasingly expensive gas-fired power, forcing up both power prices and emissions. For the Federal Government to meet its target of reducing emissions by 5 per cent it would need to find an extra 34.7 million tonnes of emissions abatement from other sectors without the Renewable Energy Target.
The current policy (if left in place) together with the reduced demand for electricity, means that that renewable energy would deliver 22.6 per cent of the electricity consumed in Australia in 2020, all thanks to our Renewable Energy Target.
Submissions to the review are still open until 16th May. Go to https://retreview.dpmc.gov.au/online-submissions – to make your submission.